Thursday, April 4, 2024

Some Disturbing News in the Times today


A recent New York Times article noted that many automakers are selling information on the driving habits of car owners to organizations such as LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where it is then resold to insurance companies. This is disgusting to say the least.  Most people owning late model cars weren't properly notified information about car owners' driving habits would be shared with outside companies.  In the case of GM cars, people were led to believe that data was being shared with Sirius/XM, so that they could subscribe to satellite radio services, and nothing more. As noted in the Privacy Not Included blog: SURPRISE!!!!!

As I am in the process of buying a new car, I have to be aware that my new car may be able to send this data to LexisNexis as well.  Supposedly, Subaru has an option to turn off the transmission to LexisNexis. I will ask the salesman about this before I sign the final paperwork on the car, as this will affect the options I select when using the new car.

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Why is this so important to me?

I don't care much if the government is able to locate me.  I do care if private industry is able to accumulate information about me without my permission.  Many Americans distrust government, but will surrender information to private industry at will.  It's bad enough that firms such as Amazon and Google have as much information about us as they do.  But, unlike government, there are no limits to what they can do with this information.

Given that the IRS knows how much we make, how much we pay in taxes, and how much we own (for the most part), I trust government more than I trust big business.  Big government drowns in the amount of information they have, and it is very constrained in how the data is used.  So, I consider big government the lesser of two evils.

Yes, there is always the possibility that personal information can be abused.  But it is easier for people to hold government accountable for the misuse of data than big business.  And we should remember that when we hear representatives of big business advocate for their positions.....

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How to Find Out What Your Car Is Doing

  • See the data your car is capable of collecting with this tool:

  • Check your connected car app, if you use one, to see if you are enrolled in one of these programs.

  • Do an online search for “privacy request form” alongside the name of your vehicle’s manufacturer. There should be instructions on how to request information your car company has about you.

  • Request your LexisNexis report:

  • Request your Verisk report:

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